Valda Ricks

2024 Partners for Justice Conference (2)

Valda Ricks

Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland

Panelist, Litigating in the Wild West: Trial Techniques for District Court

Valda Ricks graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo where she earned dual degrees in Political Science and Sociology. After earning her Juris Doctor degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law, Valda worked at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender as an Intern. She later became a Law Clerk and upon passing the Maryland Bar, she was appointed as an Assistant Public Defender where she managed a variety of cases ranging from Children in Need of Assistance to serious felonies.  Upon demonstrating her legal expertise in criminal law and leadership, Valda was promoted to the rank of supervisor and Chief Attorney. As Chief Attorney, Valda was responsible for the training and supervision of Attorneys and professional administrative staff, serve as lead counsel or second chair in bench and jury trials and develop strategic plans for training, investigation, and mentoring. Valda was appointed as a faculty member to the Gideon Promise Training Program, responsible for the training of all newly hired Assistant Public Defenders in Maryland. Valda served the citizens of Baltimore as an Assistant public defender for 22 years.

Upon leaving the Public Defender’s office, Valda continued her commitment to public service in joining the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office as Deputy of Operations. In that role, she was responsible for the operations of several divisions, to include   three District Courts, Juvenile, Central Booking and Intake Facility, Misdemeanor Jury Trial, the Specialty Courts, and training.

Upon leaving the State’s Attorney’s Office, Valda continued her commitment to Public Service. Valda was a volunteer attorney with the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland where she represented tenants in Baltimore City District court. Valda continued her commitment to public service when she became a staff attorney at the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, effective January 2023, where she represents tenants in Baltimore City and Baltimore County district courts. Valda is a member of several Bar Associations dedicated to community outreach, mentoring and leadership. She has tutored students at Coppin State University and mentored law students and attorneys newly admitted to the Maryland Bar. Valda recently completed her mentorship of fellows in the Pro Bono Resource Center’s Professional Skills Academy 2022-2023 class. With her busy schedule, Valda finds the time to volunteer at the Maryland Food Bank; serve as a volunteer for Senior Legal Services Law Day for Seniors; volunteer at Baltimore City Pro Bono Day at the Middle Branch Fitness and Wellness Center; mentor high school students; participate as a Judge in mock trials competitions for law students and high school students; participates as an interview panelist for law students, giving guidance on interview skills and techniques.

In 2022, Valda organized an expungement and dress for success workshop for the residents of the Harlem Park community.

Valda is the recipient of several awards including the Margaret Brent/Juanita Jackson Mitchell Award, which recognizes female lawyers who have surmounted substantial barriers to succeed in their profession; the Bar Association of Baltimore City Government & Public Interest Award; the Maryland Daily Record Top 100 Women Award; the Maryland Daily Record Law in Leadership Award; and, the Maryland Daily Record Lifetime Achievement Award.

Valda has remained a committed member of the Bar Association of Baltimore City for over 20 years and has remained active on various committees, including Judicial Selections, Government and Public Interest, Criminal Law; and is a member of the Executive Council.

Valda Ricks